Italy’s Andrea Dovizioso topped Friday’s first two free practice sessions for this weekend’s Austrian MotoGP at Spielberg.
Dovizioso, runner-up in Austria last year behind Italian Andrea Iannone, clocked a fastest lap of 1min 24.46sec at the end of the session run in cloudy and wet conditions.
The 31-year-old finished ahead of Spaniards Maverick Vinales, who clocked 1:24.280 on a Yahama, and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa in 1:24.474.
“We’re starting with a good feeling again. Today we did a really good job,” said Vinales.
“Especially after the Brno test we improved the set-up a lot. For tomorrow, I think it will be very important to work further on the electronics and also on the acceleration, which is really crucial here.”
In the battle for the MotoGP world title, Vinales upped the pressure on Spanish world championship leader Marc Marquez, who managed just seventh fastest for Honda.
Marquez — winner in Germany and the Czech Republic in the last two races — sits top of the standings with a 14-point lead on Vinales.
“We’re satisfied with how it went today,” said Marquez.
“The weather forecast shows possible rain for tomorrow morning, but I decided to take that gamble because I wanted to prepare well for the Sunday race.”
Italian veteran Valentino Rossi, struggling with flu symptoms, was outside the top ten riders.
“When I woke up this morning I also didn’t feel very well, I didn’t have energy, it felt like the flu, so this morning was difficult,” said the Yahamha rider.
“This afternoon, unfortunately, in the end my position was not in the top-10, which was the target, but we improved the bike and we improved the feeling.”
Free practice times after two sessions:
1. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA/Ducati) 1:24.046, 2. Maverick Vinales (ESP/Yamaha) at 0.234sec, 3. Dani Pedrosa (ESP/Honda) 0.428, 4. Johann Zarco (FRA/Yamaha Tech3) 0.476, 5. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP/Ducati) 0.570, 6. Hector Barbera (ESP/Ducati Avintia) 0.585, 7. Marc Marquez (ESP/Honda) 0.603, 8. Cal Crutchlow (GBR/LCR Honda) 0.622, 9. Aleix Espargaro (ESP/Aprillia) 0.680, 10. Scott Redding (GBRI/Ducati Pramac) 0.719
13. Valentino Rossi (ITA/Yamaha) 0.837, 14. Loris Baz (FRA/Ducati Avintia) 0.879, 17. Andrea Iannone (ITA/Suzuki) 1.172